MIAMI -- With more than 20 restricted and unrestricted free agents, the Miami Dolphins will have plenty of cap room to make roster additions in 2014. That means there won’t be a ton of trimming.
But here are five players who should be nervous as new general manager Dennis Hickey re-examines the roster. All cap numbers are provided by the Roster Management System.
1. RT Jonathan Martin
2014 cap number: $1.304 million
Analysis: There is little chance of Martin playing another down with the Dolphins. That came directly from the mouth of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross last week. Martin, who was involved in a high-profile bullying scandal this past season, has two years left on his contract. Miami will do all it can to trade Martin. But the most likely route is to release the former second-round draft pick and eat the relatively small cap hit.
Chance of being cut: 99.9 percent
2. CB Dimitri Patterson
2014 cap number: $5.4 million
Analysis: Patterson is an interesting case for the Dolphins. He is a good player and makes an impact when healthy. But his durability has been a major question throughout his entire career. A groin injury forced him to miss 10 games in 2013. Patterson could become a cap casualty. It’s hard to justify his kind of salary, especially when the Dolphins also have to spent a lot of money to re-sign free-agent cornerback Brent Grimes.
Chance of being cut: 80 percent
3. LB Koa Misi
2014 cap number: $2.328 million
Analysis: Many were surprised when Misi received a four-year, $17 million contract extension from former general manager Jeff Ireland during last season. Misi wasn’t having a great year. He finished with 54 tackles and two sacks. Miami’s linebackers underachieved overall, so expect Hickey to take a firm look at this group. Misi’s cap number isn't astronomical. That could make him a potential target to trim the roster this offseason.
Chance of being cut: 50 percent
4. RB Daniel Thomas
2014 cap number: $1.029 million
Analysis: Thomas is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He’s mostly been a bust since being selected in the second round of the 2011 draft. He averaged 3.7 yards per carry last season, which was a career high. Thomas is inexpensive and could be the odd man out if the Dolphins add a top running back via the draft (Carlos Hyde) or free agency (Ben Tate, Maurice Jones-Drew). Starter Lamar Miller will stick and 2013 draft pick Mike Gillislee may get another shot to show if he has potential.
Chance of being cut: 35 percent
5. LB Philip Wheeler
2014 cap number: $6.4 million
Analysis: The Dolphins were really high on the Wheeler signing last year. But Wheeler didn’t make the impact plays to justify the five-year, $26 million contract. Miami’s run defense was horrible at times due to poor linebacker play. Still, Wheeler finished second on the team with 118 tackles. With Wheeler’s high cap number, I think he will get at least one more year to prove he can be an impact player. But with a new GM, Wheeler should be a little nervous.
Chance of being cut: 20 percent